All due respect to those who have and continue to serve our country in times of conflict, but I contend war has nothing on divorce.
I once was married and now I am not. Sounds simple enough. If only it were so. Somehow in the not so calculated calculations leading up to the end of my marriage I failed to factor in a few things. Looking back, I’m not sure what I expected to happen or how I thought the transition would go or feel, and I want to be clear that I still believe that ultimately it was the best (only) decision for both of us.
One of the things that seemed crazy at the time but now feels a lot smarter than anticipated, was moving from Florida to Nevada shortly after the split. Regardless of how amicable and necessary a parting of company between two more or less consenting adults, I seriously do not know how those two people continue to live in the same area, opening the possibility for random run ins at the grocery store, post office, restaurants, etc. Of course if there are small children involved it’s a whole different story, but for my money being almost a whole country away from my old life was a good plan. Don’t get me wrong, there are people it kills me to be two plane rides away from, but visiting Florida recently and being in and around my former town, friends, family and home felt uncomfortably like watching a movie of my life that no longer had me in it. Though I can’t speak for him, I think it is easier for both me, and my ex not to have to see each other on a regular basis. It would be challenging for me to see my former dogs out at the beach or the dog park. I got to spend a little time with them during my visit and at the risk of overly anthropomorphizing, they seemed a little confused by my presence. I love my new dog but I miss my old guys too.
And then there is the house. The house I lived in for twenty-two years. The house I raised mine, and several other people’s kids in. How weird was it to walk up to that house and ring the doorbell (that still doesn’t work by the way). And once inside, how was one supposed to feel seeing the once familiar furniture, décor and every day items that used to belong to me, well, us, that no longer do? Maybe it’s because I went so far away so quickly but it was jarring to be in that space. Also, and this one is totally on me, but even though we are not together any more and the status quo is absolutely appropriate, it is hard to be around a man with whom I once shared a house, kids and life and no longer be able to just talk. Like really talk, not just trade polite sound bites. Though come to think of it maybe we never were very successful at that and perhaps that is one of the reasons we ended up divorced.
Of course his new significant other would and should be around when I’m there, that’s how these things work. It was decidedly NOT appropriate for me to want to rehash the details of our marital demise, to explain, clarify, justify for myself or to him what and how it all went wrong, not that there are clear answers to lots of those questions anyway. So why did I feel like I wanted to shout, “Hey, could I just have a minute here???” Because the answer is no, no you cannot. You, Nancy, are no longer that wife and he is no longer that husband, and that is what everyone wanted, so thanks for playing.
Yes, I do tend to over think these things, and no, no one was making things purposely uncomfortable. I’m clearly still coming to grips with the realities of life after divorce. As non-confrontational as our split was we still aren’t going to be besties, or even ‘normal’, whatever that means, any time soon.
So yeah, for now I’ll bequeath him everything east of the Mississippi, and I’ll take what’s west. And god bless us, everyone.